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Shagging the Bos

San Jose Congressman Tom Campbell made his first major speech on the House floor since returning to the Republican ranks in Washington last Thursday, when he closed out the weekly session by introducing a bill that seeks to invoke the Congressional War Powers Act to force a vote on whether U.S. "peacekeeping" troops should remain in Bosnia. Although he wasn't precise on the floor about how he would vote on the issue, Campbell did offer hints that he'd like to bring the troops home from the former chunk of Yugoslavia, noting the unlikelihood of ever eliminating ethnic hatred in that neck of the forest. ... Eye tried to pin Campbell down on whether he would vote for or against leaving the peacekeepers in place, the Campbell camp ducked the question. "It all depends on how the president presents it to Congress," a reluctant Campbell spokesman told Eye. ... Even though Campbell's effort failed to catch much notice in the local news media, the move just could bother GOP internationalists like Campbell mentor and Stanford neighbor, former Secretary of State George Shultz.


Leon, Call Home

Meanwhile in Washington, the Democratic Party's two major contenders to succeed term-limitedPete Wilson in the governor's mansion in 1998 made their pitches to the faithful at the party's convention earlier this month in Southern California. And let's just say that Lt. Gov. Gray Davis and State Controller Kathleen Connell fell short of electrifying the diehards. (Maybe they should have booked a really exciting orator, like Susan Hammer.) ... "What a dreary choice," groaned one local Demo legislator who witnessed both presentations and is certain neither of the passionless donkeys can beat likely GOP nominee Dan Lungren, the hardline state attorney general. The result: a movement to draft White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta, who has previously hinted he's interested in California's top job. A private letter supporting a Panetta candidacy is now circulating in Demo circles in Sacramento--and, depending on how many names sign on, President Clinton may or may not need to hang out a help-wanted sign.


Q-tip

San Jose criminal attorney James E. Leininger might have to powder his nose to get it back to its normal color after his recent attempt at damage control with the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office. Leininger, faithful readers will remember, distinguished himself in a recent Metro article on the county's juvenile justice system, in which he was quoted making remarks about local DAs that would not exactly be considered high compliments in the legal profession. ...In a letter penned to DA George Kennedy, Leininger lamented that he was quoted as calling a prosecutor a "dumb ass," claiming he actually had told Metro "smart-ass." Big difference, although we figure being a smart anything is better than being a dumb one. ... In the gray-matter inspection department, though, what Leininger actually told our reporter was, "When I walk into court and some judge or stupid-ass district attorney wants to talk about the burglary, it makes my ears twitch." Leininger went on to apologize to Kennedy in the letter and offered to make a public apology.


State Fair

Local lame-duck legislator Dom Cortese has floated a proposal for a state bailout of the financially challenged Santa Clara County County Fairgrounds. Dom's plan would turn the bankrupt, 170-acre site over to the state park system. Only problem is, fairground officials say when it came to mapping out the plan to save them, they were left out of the loop. ..."There's been no proposal sent to me," Fairgrounds Management Corp.'s Gary Hansen informs. "As far as I'm concerned it's a dead issue." ... Hansen admits that he has had conversations with Cortese regarding a state takeover but says that until he sees how the state will help, he can't offer an opinion. ... In any event, a state putsch seems unlikely. The fairgrounds turned a $500,000 profit last year and a new financial plan is on the boards. The scheme, heavy on private enterprise and joint ventures, would allow the fairgrounds to be "self-sustaining forever," Hansen swears. ... A state takeover of a local, revenue-producing entity is not likely to be met with open arms by county officials, considering the state's penchant for raiding local coffers.


Own the Mundo

Taking the leap where papers in other big cities have gone splat, the Mercury News put out its first issue of its free all-Spanish weekly last Friday. With a first press run of 60,000, Nuevo Mundo's circulation approaches that of all other Latino-serving publications in the county combined. All those papers are bilingual. ... With Nuevo Mundo, the local daily is trying to reach an audience embittered by negative coverage. Competing publishers are, of course, worried. "Before Latinos were violent, poor, unsophisticated laborers and gang members," said Jorge Chino, of the alternative El Andar. "Now, read Nuevo Mundo and it's a rosy world; look how nice and humble these people are. There is no real assessment of what this complex community is about. ... To be strong in the comunity, you have to be born in and immersed in the community." ... It's too early to tell what effect Nuevo Mundo will have on smaller Hispanic weeklies. Yolanda Reynolds of La Oferta says ad sales have increased since Nuevo Mundo was announced. "We've always known it's important to advertise in our community. Our advertisers may have no money for market research, but now that they see [the Merc] is putting that kind of investment into reaching out to Latinos, they realize it's important for them to do it too." ... But another Latino newspaper executive mentioned rumors that Nuevo Mundo, backed by a national chain, is engaging in predatory pricing by charging lower advertising rates than its smaller competitors: "They can throw millions at this market. I can't."


NAMBLA On

What could have been this year's version of the Kathy Cole scandal has petered out after a reporter for the gay newspaper OutNOW! failed to capture on tape remarks by San Jose police lieutenant Richard Calderón of the county Human Relations Commission. ... Nobody's owned up to having a recording of Calderón's April 8 remarks during a debate on the county's proposed domestic partners registry, in which he allegedly linked gays to pedophilia and bestiality. Both Calderón and commission kingpin James McEntee strongly deny that the comments were made, but some others at the meeting say they were. Who's right? Seems we'll never know for sure. ... Calderón concedes he made a reference to NAMBLA (North American Man-Boy Love Association) in response to a direct question, which was taken out of context. He says he remains "an advocate for everyone's human rights" and is "deeply saddened if any of my opinions falsely reported have caused any member of the community pain or discomfort." However, he reaffirms his opposition to the registry: "I share the concerns for the silent majority who feel that the institutions of marriage and the traditional family need to be strengthened for our society to endure." ... Meanwhile, the registry proposed by Mike Honda has been pushed way back. Now, the commission won't vote until May 28, and county supes won't be holding a public hearing on it until mid-August--just about the time that the Hawaii Supreme Court is expected to legalize same-gender marriages there.


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From the May 9-15, 1996 issue of Metro

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